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New Years Resolutions

Rose Beidahl, M. Ed.

Many of you have already set your New Year’s resolutions aside and they have joined the yearly disposal box containing self recriminations such as "I have failed again, I tried but failed miserably; or this was too hard for me this year—maybe next year."

As a parent educator, I wonder how many of your resolutions that went adrift are related to parenting. While parenting three active children, I remember making daily resolutions and daily breaking them Whether you make parenting resolutions on New Year’s or tend to make and break them daily, I would like to suggest a way of keeping those promises you make to your family and self.

First, determine whether the parenting resolution you choose will change the relationship in a positive manner between you and your child; as well as your spouse or mate. Second, pick no more than one challenge to work on at a time. Finally, after feeling secure about that particular issue you may move on to another, but try not to rush yourself.

The following is a suggested resolution list to enhance your parenting. Note: each resolution is first written as a general goal, which will likely set you up for failure. In contrast, the revised version is written as a specific plan to help ensure your success.

  • Spend more time with the children. Revised: I will spend one more hour a week with each child in a mutually enjoyable activity.
  • Listen more to my children. Revised: I will each day, at a designated place and time, actively listen without commenting for ten minutes to what my child wants to tell me about any subject.
  • Lose my temper less with the children. Revised: For two weeks I will select a specific area that often pushes my buttons and faithfully try positive solutions that are ( if possible ) mutually worked out with each child.
  • Join a parenting class. Revised: I will call for information or visit a class to help ensure my present needs will be met, followed by a full commitment to the class I decide to join.
  • Attend more of the children’s activities. Revised: For one month if I cannot attend all of my children’s activities I will rotate activities; or select an additional one and diligently attend no matter what !
  • Be more patient. Revised: Once a month I will select one area of impatience with each child and patiently work out ( if possible ) with the child a positive solution.
  • Spoil my children less. Revised: Twice a year I will select one way that I continually indulge my children, talk it over with them (if possible), and replace it with a mutually agreed non-materialistic and loving substitute.
  • Keep promises better. Revised: One month at a time I will commit not to make any promises I cannot keep.
  • Hit and yell less. Revised: I will for eight weeks increase my knowledge about methods of correcting my children through reading, joining a parent support group, or talking to others about positive discipline; or any combination of these methods.
  • Read more to my children. Revised; I will for six weeks increase my reading of one book a week to my children at home and reading one more book when visiting the public library.
  • Become a more perfect parent Revised: I will remember each year not to strive for parenting perfection. Instead I will remind myself I continually have strengths as a parent; as well as on-going challenges on the frequently bumpy road of this wondrous and unique journey we call parenting.

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